“IT is happy with XP”, Dimensional Research’s Diane Hagglund told ComputerWorld regarding the study she performed for Kace/Dell. In the paper “Office 2010 Adoption: A Survey of Technology Professionals“, Hagglund supported her claim with survey results that many organizations say they will continue on with XP despite Microsoft’s recently published 2014 EOSL date for XP.
I don’t necessarily advocate this stance, but the research should be an indication that corporate customers need compelling reasons to upgrade and easier transition paths. From a technologist’s perspective, new desktop environments and tools are great; yet from a business perspective, the ROI is nebulous. With limited resources and all the apparent profitable opportunities occurring on the web, in the cloud or with mobile devices, investing in enhancing the desktop is just not a priority.
Windows 7 (and Vista) and Office 2007/2010 are a significant cost – the software itself, hardware refreshes, and retraining – and it is very difficult to sell to executive management. Even if obsolescence forces a hardware upgrade and Software Assurance covers the software costs, the deployment, retooling, and retraining costs remain a major hurdle. Hagglund cites “the most worrisome aspect of the new release is training users on the new Ribbon interface”.
This is not a commentary on the quality of the latest releases of Windows, but evidence of a larger, systemic issue: the software delivery model is fundamentally broken. Software vendors need to re-evaluate their offerings and examine the congruence with their customers’ objectives. IT can no longer afford to have vendors guess at their needs, then plunk down big dollars and absorb migration costs.